We welcome John Ashworth of Restore Britain’s Fish, who will be writing a series of articles about the EU’s iniquitous Common Fisheries Policy. Here is the first piece:-
The events start with the Treaty of Rome, an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community (EEC) on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany – The six Member Nations.
Talks began at the end of June 1970 between the above six, and Britain Ireland Denmark and Norway, but before these four Nations had lodged their official application to join the EEC the six had created the Fisheries regulation.
When a Regulation is created, at the top it states the articles within the Treaty the regulation takes its authority from, and as soon as a Regulation comes into force, it in turn becomes what is known as the acquis communautaire.
In understanding the workings of the then EEC, now European Union, the above paragraph is probably one of the most important aspects to have to learn.
Firstly – what is this acquis communautaire. -. It is all EEC/EU treaties, EU legislation -(regulation), international agreements, standards, court verdicts, fundamental rights provisions and horizontal principles in the treaties such as equality and non-discrimination. In short, all EU-law.
When Britain joined in January 1973, the acquis communautaire amounted to around 5,000 pages; today it is estimated to be 170,000 pages and growing. When a nation joins, what is now the EU, it has to accept, and comply, with the acquis communautaire in full, without exception, other than with transitional derogations. In addition the existing members have to all agree, to the applying Nation joining under those terms, which in effect the existing members, by Treaty, are endorsing their allegiance/compliance to the acquis communautaire.
This then begs the question, when a politician states they will “reform” or “renegotiate”, one has to ask – what?, because if it is anything within the acquis communautaire, then you have to have a unanimous agreement among all members to change it, and if you take for example Croatia, who joined in July 2013, our Prime Minister agreed by Treaty to the terms, when nearly at the same, he saying he wants to change. Rather facing two ways at once.
Coming back to Britain’s Accession, the original six members, hours before the signed application for membership from the four was handed in, created Fisheries regulation 2140/70, which contained:
1 Rules applied by each Member State in respect of fishing in the maritime waters coming under its sovereignty or within its jurisdiction shall not lead to differences in treatment of other Member States.
Member States shall ensure in particular equal conditions of access to and use of the fishing grounds situated in the waters referred to in the preceding subparagraph for all fishing vessels flying the flag of a Member State and registered in Community territory.
In laymen’s language, that is, on becoming a member of the then EEC, now EU, the fishery limits bestowed on a Nation by International Law, are handed to the EU, to become Community waters, shared equally and without discrimination, with every other Member Nation.
As Britain had the largest living marine resource within the EU. We had, by our Accession Treaty obligation share it with every other member – end result – our vessels had to go.
The British people were not told these facts, in fact the very opposite.
The purpose of Part 1, before extending onto transitional derogations, opt-outs and Parliament in Part 2, is to understand the Treaties themselves, the regulation based on the authority of Treaties, extending into an out of control acquis communautaire, as “the project” has grown from 6 members to 28. The numbers alone, by requiring unanimity, has created a rigid, unchangeable system.
When Britain joined in 1973 we had eight other members to get on side, with 17% of the Council of Ministers vote, today we have to get 27 other members on side with 8% of the vote. The founding Fathers of the EEC/EU knew others would join who would try to water down their objectives, but they designed the system, as you increased membership, a policy always supported by the Conservative Party, you strengthened the position to stay on track to create a fully integrated Europe, all in the EU, even if it is a two tier, a hard inner core, and softer outer core, both will have to accept and obey the acquis communautaire. The outer core will simply have more derogations and opt-outs.